With a bow and a smile for all who amuse us, even if unwittingly


April 15, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Hashish dealers in Copenhagen refused to sell their wares this week to protest government efforts to end open street sales of drugs. Unfortunately, there's no sign the Baltimore boys went out on strike in sympathy.

Art: The New Direction

Perhaps I've been watching too much of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Because the other day, when I read the headline, "Vikan chosen to direct Walters," I thought our great art gallery had made a deal with someone from another star system. But I've had a look at the guy -- no pointy ears, no strange growths on his forehead -- and he appears to be one of us. Good luck, Dr. Vikan (pronounced, I'm told, Vee-can.) . . . Oh, and please forgive one other TV observation. Roy Scheider, star of "SeaQuest." Never was there a man more in need of Oil of Olay.

Looking for openings

"Serial Mom" opens this weekend, and I'm as excited as the next guy and happy for John Waters.(Even though Pat Moran didn't invite me to the premier!) Waters' appearance on the Tonight Show this week was hilarious -- and, boy, does Jay Leno need hilarious. Not only did Waters talk about his new movie and why he still lives in Baltimore -- the people inspire him -- but he was out of control on the subject of food and what people do with it for sensual pleasure. Waters reported on an underground phenomenon that involves people and pies. "You come home, you feel bad, you sit on a pie," he told Leno.

There's another opening worth a note this weekend. The Memorial Stadium outdoor flea market starts another season tomorrow morning, bright and early. (This is the flea market that was doing just fine, thank you, until a certain city councilman and a few of his neighbors started com plaining. It was forced to move across 33rd Street to the lower lot of Eastern High School.) The market opens at 6:30 for vendors, 7:30 for shoppers. Admission is 25 cents. I hope the cop who sells sticky buns will be there again this year. (They taste good. I eat them. I don't do anything else with them.)

That's Thanos over there

Convicted killer John Thanos keeps writing poetry and letters from Death Row in the downtown prison complex. In a recent epistle to a Sun reporter, Thanos noted that he'd been moved to a cell with a view of this newspaper, on North Calvert Street. Now, Thanos told reporter Glenn Small, he can see the digital time-and-temperature sign on the east side of the Sun building. "The irony of that," Thanos writes, "is it's probably the only really accurate thing [The Sun] sends out." I guess Thanos feels he's gotten some bad press, eh?

Seen anything dumb?

DSP is a syndrome, quite evident throughout metropolitan Baltimore, that one day will have to be controlled in a serious way, though it may be too late. DSP stands for Dumb Suburban Planning: inefficient and environmentally detrimental land uses, ugly and obtrusive developments, lack of foresight, bizarre mixed-uses. It's actually worse than Dumb Urban Planning because it occurs with greater frequency and shows up where the landscape had been relatively pristine. There are many examples of DSP -- send your favorite to This Just In, and we'll check it out -- but the one most recently encountered is off Route 24 north of Bel Air, past C Mart, near Forest Hill. It's a development on Newport Drive with a funeral home next to a Pizza Hut. The buildings actual ly complement each other architecturally, which only compounds the problem. (Hey, at least they're not drive-thrus.)

A nice deed

Ingmar Burger, our Remington correspondent, writes:

"I was in the Roy Rogers on Howard Street the other day. A woman I'm pretty sure was homeless walked in and started to root through the garbage looking for something to eat. I didn't say anything. No one did. An employee named Lil gently took the woman by the arm and led her away. She took her to the counter, gave her some fresh fried chicken, and the woman left. Lil didn't think anyone saw. I did. Way to go, Lil."

Words that make us blush

We have two Red-Face-of-the-Month awards to hand out. One goes to the Howard County school system for a public service ad running on Baltimore TV. It reminds motorists to stop for school "busses." (Must be too much kissing in spelling class these days.) And our second award goes to the man or woman responsible for the spelling on an electric construction-warning sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near Route 198. It reads: "45-mile limit strickly enforced."

Alphabet soup

Jumping butterballs! Howard County's Random Street Name Generator -- you know, the RSNG -- is out of control again! Someone grab the throttle! You know how the RSNG works, don't you? It's an IBM 3090 with three multi-gigabyte databases: One full of adjectives, one full of nouns and one full of every synonym in human language for "road" except "road." When booted into action, it pulls a word out of each database and makes a street name. That's why Columbia has street names like: Smooth Meadow Way, Half Light Garth, Good Hunters Ride and Stern Wheel Place. Here's the latest, from a Columbia subdivision: Liquid Laughter Lane. (Named in honor of W. C. Fields, the man whose grave, as everyone knows, bears the words: "I'd rather be in Triadelphia.")

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